Rod Stewart has had a long and prolific career as a member of the Faces, the Jeff Beck Group and as a solo artist: he has never gone more than four years without releasing a studio album. Yet it has been twenty years since he has put pen to paper and written an original song of his own, dating back to Vagabond Heart in 1991. In that time he’s sung a lot of songs by other songwriters, predominantly dedicating the past decade to several volumes of his The Great American Songbook series of pop standards.
But when Stewart began writing his autobiography Rod several years ago, something clicked, and a previously void well of creativity became a source of inspiration once again.
“I just sort of lost interest and wasn’t inspired to write anything,” Stewart told Dan Taylor in an interview for sister station WCBS-FM in New York. “And then… I started to write the book and the memories plugged back.”
No subject from Stewart’s past goes untouched on the album, from the pain of divorce on “It’s Over” to his own waistline on “She Makes Me Happy.” Overall, Time is a look back on his entire life and career.
Stewart’s re-inspired songwriting was just an added benefit while penning his autobiography. The most important aspect was telling his story without it being convoluted by others.
“That’s the great thing about doing an autobiography. You can sort out all the truths and half-truths.” Among them was his attempt at becoming a professional footballer, greatly exaggerated by the UK press, and the early escapades of himself, Ronnie Wood and Janis Joplin.
“Ronnie and I, being a couple of cute English guys… I think [Joplin] fancied us,” says Stewart. “I think fancied Ronnie more than me and she used to run after him.”
Rod Stewart’s new album Time is available now.